Pujols passes Ott for runs, Diamondbacks’ skid reaches 17

Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports
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PHOENIX — Albert Pujols hit a three-run homer and passed Mel Ott for 14th on the career runs list, and the Los Angeles Dodgers extended the Arizona Diamondbacks’ losing streak to 17 game with a 9-8 victory Sunday.

Arizona trailed 9-2 before closing with six runs in the eighth, when Josh Reddick, Christian Walker and Ketel Marte had run-scoring hits before Josh Rojas‘ inning-ending groundout against Victor Gonzalez stranded runners at the corners.

Kenley Jansen pitched a perfect ninth for his 18th save in 20 chances.

Arizona is approached the longest losing streak of the wild card era, by the Kansas City Royals in July and August in 2005. The Diamondbacks are a major league-worst 20-53 heading into a three-game home series against Milwaukee. Then they go to San Diego, trying to stop a major league record road losing streak that has stretched to 23 games.

Arizona is on the longest losing streak in team history, eclipsing a 15-game skid this season, and has lost 30 of 32 overall and 40 of 45.

Pujols’ 673rd home run put Los Angeles ahead 4-0 against Alex Young (2-5) and raised his total to 1,860 runs, one more than Ott from 1926-47 for the New York Giants. Next up is Tris Speaker with 1,882.

The 41-year-old Pujols has 11 home runs this season and trails only Barry Bonds (762), Hank Aaron (755), Babe Ruth (714) and Alex Rodriguez (696) on the career list.

Garrett Cleavinger (2-3) got four outs in relief of Tony Gonsolin, who gave up one run and three hits in 3 2/3 innings in his third start after a stint on the injured list caused by right shoulder inflammation.

Los Angeles played in front of a crowd of 31,661 that featured many loud Dodgers fans. Los Angeles has won six in a row and 10 of 12.

A.J,. Pollock had three hits, including a pair of doubles, and three RBIs.

BACK IN THE BIGS

INF Josh VanMeter took the roster spot vacated RHP Kevin Ginkel was returned to the minors. “We wanted Kevin to get back into rhythm with consistent work,” Lovullo said. VanMeter started at second on Sunday, batting leadoff, and later moved to third. Those are the positions where Lovullo said VanMeter will see the most playing time.

MILESTONE

Corbin Martin relieved Young and allowed four runs in 3 2/3 innings. Martin singled off Cleavinger for his first professional hit; he had been 0 for 5.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Diamondbacks: C Gary Varsho was recalled from Triple-A Reno, one day C Carson Kelly broke a wrist. … Manager Torey Lovullo said Kelly will get a CT scan on Monday and then the team will project how long he will be out.

UP NEXT

Dodgers: LHP Julio Urias (9-2) starts Monday night at San Diego and RHP Yu Darvish (6-2) in the opener of a three-game series.

Diamondbacks: RHP Merrill Kelly (2-7) starts for Arizona and LHP Brett Anderson (2-4) for the Brewers.

Yankees star Judge hits 61st home run, ties Maris’ AL record

aaron judge
Cole Burston/Getty Images
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TORONTO — Aaron Judge tied Roger Maris’ American League record of 61 home runs in a season, hitting a tiebreaking, two-run drive for the New York Yankees in the seventh inning against the Toronto Blue Jays on Wednesday night.

The 30-year-old slugger drove a 94.5 mph belt-high sinker with a full-count from left-hander Tim Mayza over the left-field fence at Rogers Centre. The 117.4 mph drive took just 3.8 seconds to land 394 feet from the plate, and it put the Yankees ahead 5-3.

Judge watched the ball clank off the front of the stands, just below two fans who reached over a railing and tried for a catch. He pumped an arm just before reaching first and exchanged a slap with coach Travis Chapman.

The ball dropped into Toronto’s bullpen and was picked up by Blue Jays bullpen coach Matt Buschmann, who turned it over to the Yankees.

Judge’s mother and Roger Maris Jr. rose and hugged from front-row seats. He appeared to point toward them after rounding second base, then was congratulated by the entire Yankees team, who gave him hugs after he crossed the plate.

Judge moved past the 60 home runs Babe Ruth hit in 1927, which had stood as the major league mark until Maris broke it in 1961. All three stars reached those huge numbers playing for the Yankees.

Barry Bonds holds the big league record of 73 for the San Francisco Giants in 2001.

Judge had gone seven games without a home run – his longest drought this season was nine in mid-August. This was the Yankees’ 155th game of the season, leaving them seven more in the regular season.

The home run came in the fourth plate appearance of the night for Judge, ending a streak of 34 plate appearances without a home run.

Judge is hitting .313 with 130 RBIs, also the top totals in the AL. He has a chance to become the first AL Triple Crown winner since Detroit’s Miguel Cabrera in 2012.

Maris hit No. 61 for the Yankees on Oct. 1, 1961, against Boston Red Sox pitcher Tracy Stallard.

Maris’ mark has been exceeded six times, but all have been tainted by the stench of steroids. Mark McGwire hit 70 home runs for the St. Louis Cardinals in 1998 and 65 the following year, and Bonds topped him. Sammy Sosa had 66, 65 and 63 during a four-season span starting in 1998.

McGwire admitted using banned steroids, while Bonds and Sosa denied knowingly using performing-enhancing drugs. Major League Baseball started testing with penalties for PEDs in 2004, and some fans – perhaps many – until now have considered Maris the holder of the “clean” record.

Among the tallest batters in major league history, the 6-foot-7 Judge burst on the scene on Aug. 13, 2016, homering off the railing above Yankee Stadium’s center-field sports bar and into the netting above Monument Park. He followed Tyler Austin to the plate and they become the first teammates to homer in their first major league at-bats in the same game.

Judge hit 52 homers with 114 RBIs the following year and was a unanimous winner of the AL Rookie of the Year award. Injuries limited him during the following three seasons, and he rebounded to hit 39 homers with 98 RBIs in 2021.

As he approached his last season before free agent eligibility, Judge on opening day turned down the Yankees’ offer of an eight-year contract worth from $230.5 million to $234.5 million. The proposal included an average of $30.5 million annually from 2023-29, with his salary this year to be either the $17 million offered by the team in arbitration or the $21 million requested by the player.

An agreement was reached in June on a $19 million, one-year deal, and Judge heads into this offseason likely to get a contract from the Yankees or another team for $300 million or more, perhaps topping $400 million.

Judge hit six homers in April, 12 in May and 11 in June. He earned his fourth All-Star selection and entered the break with 33 homers. He had 13 homers in July and dropped to nine in August, when injuries left him less protected in the batting order and pitchers walked him 25 times.

He became just the fifth player to hold a share of the AL season record. Nap Lajoie hit 14 in the AL’s first season as a major league in 1901, and Philadelphia Athletics teammate Socks Seabold had 16 the next year, a mark that stood until Babe Ruth hit 29 in 1919. Ruth set the record four times in all, with 54 in 1920, 59 in 1921 and 60 in 1927, a mark that stood until Maris’ 61 in 1961.

Maris was at 35 in July 1961 during the first season each team’s schedule increased from 154 games to 162, and baseball Commissioner Ford Frick ruled if anyone topped Ruth in more than 154 games “there would have to be some distinctive mark in the record books to show that Babe Ruth’s record was set under a 154-game schedule.”

That “distinctive mark” became known as an “asterisk” and it remained until Sept. 4, 1991, when a committee on statistical accuracy chaired by Commissioner Fay Vincent voted unanimously to recognize Maris as the record holder.